Previous
Kairat Almaty
Sigma Olomouc
1
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 4
Game Details
Progres Niederkorn
FC Ufa
2
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 4
Game Details
AEK Larnaca
SK Sturm Graz
5
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 7 - 0
Game Details
HJK Helsinki
Olimpija Ljubljana
1
4
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 7
Game Details
FC Copenhagen
CSKA Sofia
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 2
Game Details
Universitatea Craiova
RB Leipzig
1
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 4
Game Details
CFR Cluj-Napoca
Alashkert FC
5
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 7 - 0
Game Details
FK Suduva
FK Spartaks Jurmala
0
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
FC Midtjylland
T.N.S.
3
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 1
Game Details
Apoel Nicosia
Hapoel Be'er
3
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 3
Game Details
FK Kukesi
Torpedo Kutaisi
2
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 5
Game Details
Zenit St Petersburg
Dinamo Minsk
8
1
AET
Leg 2Aggregate: 8 - 5
Game Details
Molde
Hibernian
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Zalgiris Vilnius
Sevilla FC
0
5
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 6
Game Details
Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Pyunik
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Lucerne
Olympiakos
1
3
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 7
Game Details
LASK Linz
Besiktas
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Dinamo Brest
Apollon Limassol
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 4
Game Details
Zrinjski Mostar
Ludogorets Razgrad
1
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
F91 Dudelange
Legia Warsaw
2
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 3
Game Details
Atalanta
Hapoel Haifa
2
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 6 - 1
Game Details
FC Basel
Vitesse Arnhem
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Br√łndby
Spartak Zlatibor Voda
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 1
Game Details
Lech Poznan
Racing Genk
1
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 4
Game Details
NK Maribor
Rangers FC
0
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Partizan Belgrade
FC Nordsjaelland
3
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 3
Game Details
FCSB
Hajduk Split
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Rapid Vienna
Slovan Bratislava
4
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 2
Game Details
Feyenoord Rotterdam
AS Trencin
1
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 5
Game Details
KAA Gent
Jagiellonia Bialystok
3
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 1
Game Details
Rosenborg
Cork
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 0
Game Details
Rijeka
Sarpsborg FK
0
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Burnley
Istanbul Basaksehir
1
0
AET
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Bordeaux
FC Mariupol
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 2
Game Details
Valur Reykjavik
Sheriff Tiraspol
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2Sheriff Tiraspol wins on Away Goals
Game Details
Braga
FC Zorya Luhansk
2
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 3FC Zorya Luhansk wins on Away Goals
Game Details
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FC 100 ranking tries to put the team ahead of the individuals

The genesis of the ESPN FC 100 lies in recognizing specialists and trying to compare apples and apples in a way others do not. The fact of the matter is football skews towards those who attack, who score and who exist in the final third. Football awards and rankings follow suit.

We can't help ourselves. We are obsessed with the guys who score the goals and the guys who make the passes that lead to goals. It's some primal thing and we live in a world of highlights geared towards that end. A center-back's headed clearance or a midfielder's crunching tackle aren't made for bite-size consumption, let alone a guy clogging a passing lane or tracking back intelligently.

That's why 12 of the 23 men on FIFA's Player of the Year shortlist (or "The Best," as they now call it) are attackers of the sort who score plenty of goals. Guess who else is over-represented. Yep, goalkeepers: There are three of them. And it's probably not a coincidence that this is a position that also lends itself to highlight reels and social media sharing.

That's why we do this differently. We split players into categories that reflect not just basic positions -- right-back, winger, etc. -- but what they do on the pitch. N'Golo Kante and Kevin De Bruyne are both midfielders, but what they do and how they fulfill that role is very different. It's an imperfect exercise; that's the nature of the game.

Not all positions are equally influential at every club, but the main goal of the FC 100 was to consider that successful teams are essentially machines and as such, the big gears, lesser cogs and grease that keeps them turning all deserve recognition.

You're bound to quibble and dispute some of the categories and some of the players. That's fine. That's what you get when you have 22 guys occupying a single pitch and given the dynamic, multi-faceted nature of the game. Managers tweak and tinker with the best players seemingly able to adapt to what's asked of them.

The likes of Neymar and Lionel Messi naturally dominate rankings, but equal love is given to the full-backs who help them shine.

Unlike many other sports, very few situations repeat time and again and, with them, the reactions of the players. That's part of the appeal.

We made our survey as broad as we could within the ESPN family, drawing upon writers, pundits, ex-professionals, editors and producers. We called upon people on six different continents, among those who bring you regular content. Some will watch two dozen games a week, others fewer, but the love of the game is constant throughout.

What did we find? Players from bigger clubs get more love. Reputations sometime endure even after performances flag, yet the fact that nearly one-third of the men on our list (including managers) weren't there last year bears witness to the game's enduring ability to renew itself year after year.

As I said, there's plenty with which to disagree, from the categories themselves to the rankings within them. That's partly the point. Having spent two decades reporting on the game and being around scouts, managers and players, I guarantee you that if you took the 10 best coaches in the world (whether you think it's the 10 on our list or not) and asked them to rank the best in the sport, you'd find they would disagree among themselves too.

That's the other big takeaway from this. The game is global and our ranking is too. But that also means we have breadth but not that much in terms of depth. Bigger teams in bigger leagues get the most exposure and while there are superb players outside the power leagues, they don't always get the attention they deserve. It's just a fact.

Read it. Get angry and call us names, if you like. But please, along the way, remind yourself of some of the talent on this list and maybe take a moment to appreciate what football and the players who make it what it is bring to your life.

The ESPN FC 100 is, above all, a celebration of these guys. Not just the cover stars but the ones who toil to make them look good.

And once you're done celebrating, feel free to tell us what you think. We can take it.

Gabriele Marcotti is a senior writer for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @Marcotti.

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